It’s April…

and all has not been quiet on the FCA front, though admittedly it would seem that way given that we have not shared here in a while. Here below is our attempt to report back and keep you in the loop.

Image courtesy unsplash.com

In the last few months, starting from our in-person meeting just prior to the Christmas holidays, our members formed teams and began to work on their FCA projects — brainstorming, ideating, iterating on the concerns that face the highly uncertain present and future of computing. All this alongside efforts to rapidly gather knowledge about various ACM units (such as the Publications Board or the Practitioners Board, etc.) and their ongoing initiatives, so as not to duplicate efforts but identify and amplify synergies instead. Before these projects can be implemented, however, they must be proposed and approved by the ACM Executive Committee (EC).

Getting approvals is a non-trivial, time-consuming process that entails multiple iterations and communications between the FCA and the ACM Leadership, EC, and the Extended EC. Our first round of projects was submitted for initial review on January 31, just less than a month after we “opened for business” on January 6 of this year. Last week, we were able to present some of these for discussion and feedback at the EEC level. We hope to receive our first round of approvals in the mid-May EC meeting. EC meetings take place at most once a month, and generally less frequently, but we anticipate that each of these meetings will entail a review of new/revised projects with significant feedback and/or guidance towards realignment. The process was co-designed between ACM and FCA leadership to ensure that all FCA projects align with the ACM’s goals, and that experts within ACM can support and guide these projects in the long term, potentially beyond a single member recruitment cycle. Even as we work through the motions of proposing and iterating, we decided to briefly share below about areas our teams are considering for projects.

The Career Paths teams are keen to make computing an attractive, accessible, and navigable profession for all, so that students and young professionals — especially those from less privileged backgrounds — can (a) get guidance on the possible career paths they could explore with their computing training, and (b) trace the trajectories of other senior professionals they might wish to emulate.

Given that ACM’s presence is concentrated in tech-rich regions of the Global North, the Equitable Computing teams are concerned with identifying ways of making ACM and computing globally equitable and relevant for the Global South. These teams expect to generate guidelines for meaningful, ethical, and productive engagement at a local, regional, and global level.

The ACM Pointer team seeks to augment the ACM DL’s scientific and “heavy” knowledge with information from “light” knowledge sources (such as blogs, podcasts, and news articles), to offer more current and relatable mechanisms of knowledge production to the ACM community.

Our Remote Worker Wellbeing team responds to COVID-19’s impact by seeking to make computing amenable to (remote) work and wellbeing, with their longer term focus being on the overall wellbeing of computing professionals.

The Digital Identity Guidebook group is focused on showcasing grassroots efforts to popularize central issues around digital identity, through interviews, commentaries, and newsletters. It seeks to leverage ACM resources like the Tech Policy Council’s tech briefs and work with ACM chapters and SIGs towards shaping digital identity principles of the future.

Next, advancing the vision of Hecht et al. in an early FCA post, the Responsible AI team aims to co-design a conference review process that committees, reviewers, and authors can agree on, towards ensuring responsible AI practice.

And finally, the Interdisciplinary Dialogue team strives to better bridge sub-communities within computing by recognizing and stimulating interdisciplinary research. They aim to be working closely with the SIGs Governing Board.

As these projects continue to take shape, you will be hearing from us more. Of course in the meantime, if you have any thoughts you’d like to share on the above, we are always open to learning and feedback :).

Stay safe, stay home, and stay tuned for more updates from us!

Neha & Luigi
(Chair & Vice-Chair, ACM FCA)


It’s April… was originally published in ACM Future of Computing Academy on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.